My Turning 45 List of Advice, Lessons, and Observations

On June 27th, I turned 45 years old. After being inspired by this list by Kevin Kelley and this from David Perell, I decided to write my own list of advice, observations, and lessons learned. So here is my list, one for each year of my life.

  1. No effort to be a disciple of Jesus goes wasted. I have been transformed and saved by all of these efforts. God has used them to transform me in order to rescue me from grief, loss, heartbreak, self inflicted wounds, trial after trial, betrayal, mistakes, missteps, and disappointment.
  2. Tell the person you are firing the bad news first. It just makes the terrible process go smoother and allows you to be direct and clear.
  3. Having more than one kid brings you more of everything – joy, fun, irritation, hassle, love, meaning, and exhaustion.
  4. I don’t have to be Jesus, just the Jesus that he would be if he were me.*
  5. Prayer is more than worry with wings. Call on God and make your requests known.
  6. Include listening in your prayer time.
  7. It is okay to read the Bible’s greatest hits if that keeps you in the scriptures.
  8. I can’t listen to music with lyrics while doing office work.
  9. Unfriending or unfollowing people on social media that trigger my anger decreases my level of irritation and frustration.
  10. Write the first draft without editing. It lets you get into a flow without beating yourself up for your mistakes and poor execution.
  11. God is the most joyous being in the Universe.*
  12. God’s kingdom is a perfectly safe place for me to be.*
  13. Share a meal with a homeless person. The story and the connection will leave an indelible mark.
  14. Be generous to those in need. If they make poor decisions with your gift, that is between them and God. You are called to be faithful to the Lord’s prompting to give.
  15. Don’t read more than two books at a time.
  16. Name three things you are thankful for each day. Get your kids to do the same.
  17. Never question someone else’s grief.
  18. Fasting is not about your health or spiritual achievement. It is about reliance on God.
  19. I am more likely to fall asleep during an action movie than a drama. I know how the action movie will turn out and who will win, I don’t always know the outcomes of dramas or comedies.
  20. Finding new music that you like is harder when you get older.
  21. Running at least 30 minutes several times a week is therapeutic to me.
  22. The best rock band names are a two word phrase – Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Imagine Dragons. Easy to remember yet open to creativity.
  23. Never use colors or numbers in your band name. Avoid animal names unless they are fictional.
  24. What you think about God is the most important thing about you.#
  25. There is nothing you can do that will make God love you more or love you less.**
  26. Whenever I have put myself at the center of my universe it has been a disaster. That place is reserved for Christ.
  27. My goal in life is to mature in Christ.
  28. Evangelical churches have neglected introverts, singles, and women.
  29. The more Christ’s followers develop a likeness to him the more effective their church will be.
  30. Bible instruction must have an appeal to the heart or it is just an academic exercise.
  31. Classic Country music sounds better on a record player.
  32. How many people like my latest post should not dictate what my next post will be.
  33. Dallas Willard, Henri Nouwen, Eugene Peterson, and Brennan Manning are all dead. Frederick Buechner may soon follow. Who will be the next ones to inspire a generation willing to be vulnerable, spiritual and broken before Christ?
  34. I write as much for myself as I do for others.
  35. Kick your phone out of the bedroom.
  36. Being a Christian leader is not pushing management solutions with a Christian stamp of approval. It is actually living out the Sermon on the Mount in the context of an organization.
  37. Listening to the Bible counts as reading the Bible.
  38. Embracing silence and solitude for designated moments is a clear path to Growing Up.
  39. Having a personality or a type is how God made you but it also points out areas of growth.
  40. It takes work to stay engaged with your teenagers but it is absolutely essential.
  41. Growing Up as a Christian means finding the best method to experience God and learn from Jesus. That might look different for different people.
  42. The only hope that any family relationship has is the ruthless ability to forgive.
  43. The people who succeed are the ones that can find enthusiasm in the middle not just the beginning or the end.
  44. Look at the sky at least once a day.
  45. I am one in whom Christ dwells and delights and I live in the strong and unshakable kingdom of God.^

*From Dallas Willard

#From A.W Tozer

**From Brennan Manning

^From James Bryan Smith

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